If slopeside is your speed, you're probably not going to find the comfort and camaraderie a bed and breakfast hostelry provides, not to mention the quirkiness.
However, you might consider adding B&Bs to your range of choices and happily return year after year, making friends with the proprietors and perhaps with guests whose vacation timing matches yours. It's best to have wheels or choose a mountain which is connected by shuttle to a nearby ski town or community.
There are undoubtedly hundreds, perhaps thousands, of B&Bs studded across North America's snow country, but here's my totally unscientific look at 10 great bed and breakfasts at or near mountain resorts.
Colorado: The Ruby at Crested Butte, 624 Gothic Ave. in downtown Crested Butte, is a luxury B&B. This place was built in 1994 so it's hardly a Victorian in this wonderful Western town, but it has only six rooms and guests rave about it. The Ruby also contradicts the idea of getting away from it all, with its business center and secretarial services.
The operative phrase is "guests rave about it." What's not to like? Egyptian cotton linens, down comforters and down blankets, a 32-inch HD flat screen TV in each room with a CD player and DVD player, iPod docking station, free wi-fi, multilingual staff, library, video library, and, did I mention, a ski shuttle.
Pennsylvania: Santosha On the Ridge Bed and Breakfast Sanctuary is found at Shawnee on the Delaware on Mosiers Knob Rd. in East Stroudsburg, in the Pocono Mountains. You'll be close to five ski areas, including Alpine Mt., Shawnee Mountain, Camelback, Blue Mt. and Jack Frost. The innkeepers are not kidding when they say "sanctuary." You need a four-wheel drive vehicle to get there if there is snow. But the owner can sell you discounted tickets for either Shawnee or Camelback.
There are only four rooms: Naturescape, Sunrise, Riverview, and Woodland Vale. Breakfast is made with organic ingredients "as available." There is yoga and massage and bodywork.
Utah: Old Town Guest House, 1011 Empire Ave. in Park City, has such intriguing slogans, it has to be good. One is "May the peace of the wilderness be with you;" another, "Adventure, inspiration, possibility and a warm bed."
Deb Lovci, a backcountry skier, who operates this B&B, moved to Park City from Colorado, and has been in business 20 years. There are three rooms, and one two-room suite. Lovci can take you backcountry skiing or lead you on a snowshoe tour if that's your interest. Or, of course, ski and ride at Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort, or The Canyons.
Quebec: A Tout Venant B&B et Massotherapie in Magog, a small town in southeastern Quebec, 120km (75 miles) east of Montreal is what you expect when you think B&B. The owners describe it as "a century old house with a young heart." Vicky and Luc St-Jacques are warm and wonderful hosts, in a town with almost 20 B&Bs, each vying to outdo the other for the sumptuous quality of the breakfast, and the surroundings which tell you you're "home."
Magog is a 10-minute drive from Mont Orford, with an easily accessible shuttle bus which runs during the season. It is also reasonably close to Mont Sutton and Owl's Head, and within striking distance of Jay Peak and Burke Mountain across the border in Vermont, for all of which St-Jacques can sell discounted lift tickets. Ski Bromont is also nearby.
A Tout Venant is typical in size, five rooms, each of which is en suite. All of the beds are queen-size and, at this B&B, some rooms have futons for added accommodation.
British Columbia: Cedar Springs Lodge at Whistler, B.C., calls itself "a luxury bed and breakfast," and indeed there are beds and there is breakfast, as well as a sundeck hot tub and a shuttle to and from the lifts at Whister/Blackcomb, site of 2010 Winter Olympiad, plus hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies. There's nothing fancy about the names of the eight rooms. They are designated by the numerals one through eight.
Washington: Abendblume is located in the Bavarian theme town of Leavenworth, Wash., 37 miles east of Stevens Pass Ski Area. There is a daily shuttle to skiing and riding. Once again, it doesn't fit the theory of someone's home transformed for your pleasure - a la Bob Newhart (if you're old enough to remember him.)
There are only seven rooms, with quite authentic Austrian names, and the owners do promise a "Bavarian breakfast," although you also are welcome to try Aebleskiner, "a unique Danish pancake," and sausage and spinach fritta.
There are several units in a separate building, but this one actually was the community's jail, built in 1884. It still has "the original iron door and bars on the windows." You have to wonder if one writer describing it had his tongue in his cheek, when he said, "It offers the perfect escape."
Idaho: Spruce Inn (formerly The Feather Bed Inn) "a B&B for the young at heart," is found at Hailey,12 miles from venerable Sun Valley Resort, where the Sun Valley Airport is located. Find it at 416 First Avenue North. This is another place with an intriguing slogan, "Find your mellow or get your crazy on, we make it happen."
Spruce Inn has four rooms, each with a TV-DVD player, although there's a pool table for spending time bragging about your exploits that day on the snow.
Wyoming: Wildflower Inn is found at 725 Teton Village Road, Jackson Hole, Wyo. This a log building with hand-crafted log beds. Glacier Lily is a two-room suite, and the four rooms also carry wildflower names - Columbine, Lupine, Shooting Star, and Indian Paintbrush. The inn is set on three acres and handy to the ski and snowboard mountains of Jackson Hole and Snow King, as well as a variety of other winter activities.
Ken Jern, who operates the B&B with his wife Sherrie, has been a ski instructor for more than 20 years and promises to tell you where to find the best snow.
New York: Mt. Van Hoevenberg on Route 73, the main road into Lake Placid, has three bed and breakfast rooms in the farmhouse and eight cabins. Each of the rooms offers a different arrangement: Ausable has two twin beds; Boquet has a double; and Racquette has one full bed and two twin bunk beds. The three share two baths.
There's an outdoor wood-fired sauna, a ski waxing table and iron, and a licensed Adirondack guide is on premises. Access to the 50 km of groomed Olympic cross-country trails is out the backdoor. Whiteface Mountain for skiing and riding is a short drive.
Do you want to comment on any of these choices, or have other B&Bs in ski towns across North America? We welcome your suggestions.